Transforming secondary cities for job creation: A study of Uganda

  • The Government of Uganda is taking steps to strengthen secondary city economies, in part through plans to establish nine new cities.
  • Kampala currently dominates the country’s economic and urban system, but there are signs that the city’s labour market is becoming saturated. As such, there is a need to stimulate growth and job creation in smaller urban settlements.
  • To transform secondary cities for job creation, there is a need to support the growth of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) through a systematic value chain approach to vocational training and by bolstering initiatives to promote local content. Country-wide plans to construct industrial parks may require changes in approach to strengthen linkages to local supply chains and achieve the intended impact on job creation.
  • In the long-term, the focus should be on strengthening existing infrastructure, business clusters, and local government capacities to promote local economic development through increased policy autonomy and funding.
  • These strategies should be adapted to the locational advantages of specific settlements. For several secondary cities, these opportunities could be found in tourism and food system value chains.